Education Minister: Shortage of teachers because top students choose other careers

From the certificate giving ceremony for participants of principals training program. (Photo/President's Office)

Education Minister Aishath Ali has said that teachers are difficult to find because quality students do not choose to study teaching.

Speaking regarding the Teachers' Day celebrations today, the Minister said the shortage of teachers is a problem in both developing and developed countries.

She said the main reasons for the problem have been identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). She said that, according to UNESCO, the biggest reason is that quality students do not choose teaching.

“UNESCO notes that the two main problems facing all countries, including Maldives, are that quality students do not choose to be teachers. The environment in which teachers have to work is eroding the long-standing interest in the field,” Minister said.

She further said that UNESCO notes that the low number of men working in this field is also a factor in the recruitment of teachers.

The Minister said that female teachers in Maldives make up 75 percent while foreign teachers make up 22 percent. These statistics also show that there is still a lot of room for improvement in the education sector in Maldives, she said.

The Minister also mentioned the solutions proposed by UNESCO to solve the problems faced in recruiting teachers.

These include increasing attention to the education of teachers who are beginning their careers. In addition to the course fees, it is important to give an additional allowance to working students, she said.

Further, the Minister said that UNESCO mentioned the salary of teachers.

"These allowances should be similar to other fields compared to the length of study and working hours required to become a teacher," she said.

In addition, the Minister said it is important to reduce administrative work for teachers, keep working hours to the desired level and support the work of teachers.

At the same time, the Minister said that this is the 21st century and therefore education cannot be provided today as it was provided yesterday. The Minister said the students' eyes should be opened to modern technology and technical skills to train students who are ready for life today.